Windows Defender Offline is a new feature of Insider Builds of Windows 10 that enables you to scan the computer system during boot time and without Internet connection requirement.
Windows Defender is the built-in antivirus solution of the Windows 10 operating system. While its capabilities have improved in recent time, it is still inferior when it comes to the detection of malware when compared to many third-party solutions.
The latest AV Test results published in October 2015 for instance give Windows Defender 14 out of 18 points, but only 3.5 of 6 points in the protection test category which is the lowest score awarded in the test series.
Windows Defender Offline
While that is certainly discouraging, it is positive that Windows Defender’s protection capabilities are improving. One of the latest improvements that is currently available only to Windows Insiders on Windows 10 is a new option to run a system scan on boot instead of while the system is running.
Note: Microsoft pushed out Windows Defender Offline back in 2011, but did not really advertise the program and updated it the last time in 2012. It was a standalone program that you could download and run on your system to scan the PC before start of the operating system.
The new feature is part of Windows 10 Build 14271 which means that it is currently being tested by Fast Ring users only.
Offline scan options, or pre-boot scans, can be essential in removing malware that cannot be removed while the Windows operating system is up and running. Most antivirus solutions either ship with these capabilities or provide access to boot disks that users can load the antivirus solution from before the operating system starts.
Some malicious software can be particularly difficult to remove from your PC. Windows Defender Offline can help find and remove them using up-to-date threat definitions. This will restart your PC and will take about 15 minutes.
You can access the new “scan offline” function of Windows Defender on Windows 10 in the following way:
- Use Windows-I to open the new Settings application.
- Navigate to Update & Security > Windows Defender.
- Scroll down until you find the new Windows Defender Offline entry there.
- Make sure you close all open applications and save all work before you continue.
- Click on the scan offline button to initiate a countdown to restart the system and run the scan on reboot.
A one minute before the system is rebooted prompt is displayed with no option to stop the process once it is in motion. While you find a close button attached to the prompt, it will simply close it and reboot the system. Clicking anywhere else on the scan reboots the system immediately as well.
Microsoft will probably add an option to stop the reboot from happening before the feature lands in stable builds of Windows 10. For now, there is no option to stop the reboot.